Sunday, 23 June 2013

How I Lost It

So I was beastly drunk the night before and I was beastly hungover throughout the day, and as I was on the second last home bound train, her texts started pouring in. It was a deluge and I felt like killing Alexander Graham Bell.

Now she was in her forties, was a teacher or something somewhere, and she writes poetry, and like 99.999% self-professed poets who fart out nuggets of their creativity on Facebook, she should die.

Now she was on friendly terms with our editor-in-chief, a fact which made me despise our editor-in-chief, but I needed the money and I needed the honey. Ergo, I had to edit her submission, on the rape and brutal murder of two women in a downtown neighbourhood.

By the time I reached home it was quite late and even our neighbor had fallen asleep after beating the shit out of his wife, which was a regular routine. My head felt like Gaza Strip and I had to edit her write-up.

It began with “My heart bleeds in severe agony to depict the desolation that surrounds the homestead of Miss __ and Miss ___ today.” And it ended with “and thus, their parents, their pets (one had a cute spaniel and the other a bright parrot who has lost her voice and can’t sing anymore after the grueling ordeal that had befell her mistress), their dearest friends and their neighbours lie in agony, no hope at hand, no shoulder to cry on”. In-between these two, there stretched an endless ocean of pure, unadulterated textual torture inflicted on the mind, the psyche and the intellect. My headache went up a few notches, I felt pukish, I wanted to die.

As I was going through the three thousand and fifty nine words of relentless bashing of sanity and intellect, my headache kept on increasing beyond reckoning. After a point of time, my brain, at least those portions of it which perform the functions of reading and recognition of written language, built a cocoon around it. That’s the most natural reaction of self-preservation, imbibed through centuries and generations of torture. The words slipped by my eyes and my eyes slipped by the words, without any impact. My mind took its flight to distant lands and times, to the realm of the absurd and beyond. I thought of my childhood, my grandmother, of Archimedes, of Sourav Ganguly, and Popeye the Sailor-man. I fought with the Spartans, rode with Chengis Khan and I flew with the Wright brothers and et cetera.

After fifteen minutes of delirium, the weight of reality brought me crushing down headfirst into the sewer of disgusting mutilation of Shakespeare’s language. I realized that I hadn’t edited a single letter of it, and I couldn’t get myself to do it. The deadline was approaching in steady paces and I knew that it was impossible for me to survive the whooshing sound it would make as it passes by, because I was neck deep in debt and had two months of rent due. I looked up at the merciless clock. It was half an hour to midnight, by which I need to mail off the edited version. The clock hands were mocking me like anything. I focused on the intolerable words and they sat on my brain like the heaviest rocks ever. I fought for five more minutes and could not get beyond three sentences, each consisting of fifty words of which at least forty would be something like ‘flabbergasted’, ‘maladroit’, ‘paradigmatic’, ‘puisilence’, ‘atavistic’, ‘jejune’ and so on. Each of these words would jut out like the rock of Gibraltar and conspire to penetrate through my medulla oblongata.

It was then that I felt like Sisyphus, and I smiled. Finally, I was losing and I had nothing to do but give up. Pending laundry and electricity and grocer’s bills ceased to matter. I switched on my phone and saw fifteen text messages from the writer of the masterpiece which had slain me. I cleaned my inbox without bothering to go through any of the unread texts. I texted her, saying that she should give up writing for the sake and in the name of humanity. I texted the girl I had a massive crush on since my University days but could never get the gumption to confess. Last I heard, she married a stockbroker and is expecting in a few months. I was invited to their wedding two years back. She looked wonderful in a red saree. I told her how much I have always loved her, and switched the phone off once again. I had one little thing to take care of. I mailed my resignation letter comprising of four words broken in two sentences. The last sentence was “I quit.” The second word of the first sentence was “You” and it was followed by a mark of exclamation.

Next, I went to the window and rolled up the curtain. The moon was shining big and bright. I remembered a midnight family picnic in a forest watchtower. My dad had a moustache back then and even my mom was happy. The moon was as big and bright back then. Outside, a couple of dogs were sleeping in peace. I did not feel envious. I lit a cigarette. Then I moved away from the window, opened my drawer, took out my pistol and loaded it.


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